Kongming-Sleeping Dragon? (A discussion on names)

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Kongming-Sleeping Dragon? (A discussion on names)

Unread postby Erdrick » Tue Dec 10, 2002 12:13 am

I was reading Zhuge Liang's Bio and came across this (as the first passage)

Zhuge Liang was a Taoist scholar also known as Wo Long, or Sleeping Dragon. In his younger days, Zhuge Liang lived as a hermit after escaping his original home with his younger brother, Zhuge Jin.

I thought KongMing meant Sleeping Dragon? It Wo Long a different meaning, Sleeping Dragon in a different dialect, or?

Likewise, if Wo Long is SDragon, what does Kongming mean?
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Re: Kongming- Sleeping Dragon?

Unread postby DarkAnthem » Tue Dec 10, 2002 12:37 am

Kong Ming is Zhuge Liang's style, like Xuande(Liu Bei's style), Mengde(Cao Cao's style) and so forth.

Wo Long means sleeping dragon.
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Unread postby Han Xin » Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:00 am

From my poor understanding of Chinese, Kong (孔) mean a hole or an opening, another dictionary I had said that another meaning for the word Kong is very much, many, great amount, abundance. Ming (明) in chinese mean bright. In the context of Zhuge Liang's name, I don't think Kong actually mean a hole, so my my guess is that his name mean Zhuge the Very Bright (Talking about a person with a massive ego :lol: ).

The word Wo (卧) actually mean laying NOT sleeping. So his correct name should be the Laying Dragon. From SGYY, it seem that he use this name because the place where he live called the Laying Dragon hill or something similar and most people refer to him as WoLong TianSheng(not sure about the pinyin for the last word), Master from WoLong. So WoLong imo is a location.

Maybe Great Deer or Lady Wu could clarify on those points.
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:24 am

Wo Long (臥龍) has the literal meaning of "Laying Dragon", but is translating to "Sleeping Dragon" for some reason. Zhuge Liang lived in Long Zhong (隆中) before he joined Liu Bei, but it's a different Long, so I'm not sure if Wo Long is refering to where he lived. The titles "Sleeping Dragon/Laying Dragon" and "Fledging Phoenix" were given to Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong respectively in SGYY (neither title is mentioned in SGZ unless I missed it) to signify their intellect. Dragons in Ancient China was a symbol of a superior being with great strength, or something to that extent, so "Sleeping Dragon" implied that he was a great intellect who was inactive (before he joined Liu Bei), hence "sleeping/laying".
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Unread postby Han Xin » Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:36 am

Yeah DarkAnthem, I was confused with the Laying/Sleeping Dragon term too. However, from SGYY chapter 36, Xu Shu describe WuLong as a name of a ridges of hill in NanYang.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms- Ch. 36 taken from threekingdoms.com wrote:"On their land was a ridge of hills called the Sleeping Dragon, and the elder of the brothers took it as a name and called himself Master Sleeping Dragon. This is your man. He is a veritable genius. You ought really to visit him. And if he will help you, you need feel no more anxiety about peace in the empire."
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Re: Kongming- Sleeping Dragon?

Unread postby Mu Shu » Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:43 am

DarkAnthem wrote:Kong Ming is Zhuge Liang's style, like Xuande(Liu Bei's style), Mengde(Cao Cao's style) and so forth.

Wo Long means sleeping dragon.


What is a style? Is it an official title like "Fuhrer"? Or a nickname like "Dubya"? Or something else? :?
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Re: Kongming- Sleeping Dragon?

Unread postby Stefanos » Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:54 am

Mu Shu wrote:What is a style? Is it an official title like "Fuhrer"? Or a nickname like "Dubya"? Or something else? :?


Styles are special nicknames the people gave themselves. From the random chinese speakers I have gathered many names.

Zilong - Dragon's Child - Zhao Yun
Kongming - Big(King like king kong) Intelligence - Zhuge Liang
Shiyuan - Something like First Scholar - Pang Tong
Xuande - Mysterious Virtue - Liu Bei
Junyi - Enlightened Justice - Zhang He

I can name a few more.
Taoist names are quite different. I looked it up in the encyclopedia. Taoism was founded by Lao Tzu, who preferred a laid back style rather than engaging in governmental problems. Because both Pang Tong and ZL were Taoists(Liu Bei's 3 visits), and they had exceptional talent, they were given Taoist names. Taoists names have nothing to do with ones style.
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Re: Kongming- Sleeping Dragon?

Unread postby Mu Shu » Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:58 am

Zhou Yu wrote:
Styles are special nicknames the people gave themselves. From the random chinese speakers I have gathered many names.

Zilong - Dragon's Child - Zhao Yun
Kongming - Big(King like king kong) Intelligence - Zhuge Liang
Shiyuan - Something like First Scholar - Pang Tong
Xuande - Mysterious Virtue - Liu Bei
Junyi - Enlightened Justice - Zhang He



Interesting, so its a self-given descriptive nickname. Like Li Mu Bai the Crouching Tiger and Jen the Hidden Dragon. I think westerners sometimes use something similar.

Peter the Great
Ivan the Terrible
Otto von Bismarck - the Iron Chancellor
Joseph Stalin - the Man of Steel
Napoleon III - the Sphinx of Tuileries
Last edited by Mu Shu on Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:58 pm

Sun Seth wrote:Whoa, never knew that. I am learning so much from this board, lol. So they gave themselves their own name, but put in it things like youngest and second child?

IMO the first characters are mostly just by convention. Like if you're the second kid of the family you're expected to use Zhong, etc. Perhaps you're parents pre-picked something for you and you just formalise it when you're old enough, who knows. I mean, Sun Quan had 2 daughters whose styles were "Big Tiger" and "Little Tiger" -- what girls in their right minds would call themselves that??

Fan Kong wrote:When did the current style of names - Last-middle-first come about? Like Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and of course Pham Huy Kong. You don't really seem to see peolple w/ style names anymore either.

There were a bunch of people with 2-character given names in by Han already, like Sima Xiangru (famous writer, early Han), Chun Yu-qiong of 3K, Ma Ri-chan (Grand Tutor of Emperor Xian or something), etc.

Fan Kong wrote:Also, children of same sex in teh same family seem to share middle names w/ one another. Example all the males will have middle name "Dinh", while all females would have middle name "Bich". I would assume this was a custom learned from Chinese?

I didn't know they do it in Vietnamese families too! It's a Chinese thing, I guess. Like me and all my girl cousins on my dad's side have the middle character Feng, meaning "Phoenix", and all the boys are Qi, or "to open".
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Unread postby Fan Kong » Wed Dec 11, 2002 12:56 am

Mu Shu wrote:I've heard that Vietnamese are culturally more East Asian than SE Asian. This would be one example supporting that claim. But do you think this claim is accurate?

I think thats too broad or too general of a question. Most say that Viet language is ~60% Cantonese/Ancient Chinese......while customs and culture are probably closer to ~80%. But to say that we are like East Asians.....as in "Chinese", Korean, Japanese? No. We are more similar to South East Asians as in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand. But the people we are most similar would have to be the Cantonese in South East Asia. Though some Chinese have disagreed w/ me in the past, I still believe that Vietnamese and Cantonese culture is much more similar compared to Cantonese and Mandarin/Northern culture. Hope that makes sense.
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